Ignaz Kolisch

The Life and Chess Career

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About the Book

An enthusiastic verve—“brio” some could say—marked both Ignaz Kolisch’s personality and his games. This book documents the life of the Hungarian chess champion (1837–1889) and successful financier, setting it in the cosmopolitan framework of mid–19th century Europe. The text is enriched by about 125 or so gleanings about the lives of his competitors (including Arnous de Rivière, Anderssen, Morphy, Mackenzie, Paulsen, Falkbeer, Rosenthal, Steinitz, Winawer). More than 300 specimens of his play are presented—by far the largest collection ever—complete with sources and coeval annotations, translated from many languages. Several widespread and long-standing errors are corrected. A work deeply researched among sources in many languages, the book serves also as a record of European chess in the late 1850s through the 1880s.

About the Author(s)

Fabrizio Zavatarelli is a teacher of applied mathematics and the author of several articles concerning chess history. He lives in Milano, Italy.

Bibliographic Details

Fabrizio Zavatarelli
Format: library binding (8.5 x 11)
Pages: 376
Bibliographic Info: 324 games, 174 diagrams, 63 illustrations, appendices, notes, bibliography, indexes
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9690-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1801-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments v

Introduction 1

Features of This Book 2

Explanations 2

Abbreviations 2

I. Family and Formative Years 5

The Kolisches 5

The City of Pressburg 5

Infancy 6

A Mysterious Period 6

Among Chessplayers 7

Earliest Games 8

II. The Italian Year 15

Towards Genova 15

The Games Against Saint Bon 19

The Games Against Vitzthum 23

III. Arrival in Paris 27

Historical Framework 27

The Games Against Harrwitz 27

The Games Against Arnous de Rivière 32

Paris Life 35

The Games Against Anderssen 43

Last Strokes in Paris 56

IV. To the Conquest of London 60

Arrival in the Metropolis 60

The Match Against Worrall 65

Not Only Matches 68

The Match Against Saburov 71

The First Match Against Maude 74

A Summer Illness 78

V. The Season of Invitations 84

The Cambridge 1860 Tournament 84

Four Matches in London 89

Manchester, Liverpool and Dundee 98

VI. Restless 114

New Year’s Day in France 114

The First Challenge to Morphy 117

The Third Match Against Maude 123

Owen, Barnes and Wormald 125

The June 1861 Tour 127

VII. Great Expectations 137

The Match Against Anderssen 137

The Games Against Mackenzie 156

VIII. Louis Paulsen 158

The Bristol 1861 Tournament 158

The Match Against Paulsen 163

IX. A Step Backward 187

Paris Intermezzo 187

The Petersburg Visit 191

X. Double Life 205

A Pause for Reflection 205

The Second Challenge to Morphy 207

From Chess to Finance 207

The Match Against Hirschfeld 212

The Match Against Rosenthal 223

Embers Under Ash 228

XI. The Emperor’s Prize 236

Prelude 236

The Games 243

Neumann’s Challenge 268

XII. An International Champion 270

The Visit to Germany 270

Paris, Again 273

A Chess Star in Vienna 277

The Vienna Blindfold Performances 279

A Match with Large Odds 287

The Baden-Baden 1870 Tournament 288

Never Take a Game Too Far 290

XIII. Financial Takeoff 292

The Wiener Börsen-Syndicatskasse 292

The Match Between London and Vienna 294

Prosperity 305

The Vienna 1873 Tournament 307

Days of Wealth 308

In the Whirl of Business 312

XIV. Beatus Ille Qui Procul Negotiis 316

Baron and Rentier 316

Der Glorreiche Augenblick 318

The London 1883 Tournament 322

A Call in Nürnberg 326

Events of a Notable Life 326

The Hassan Affaire 327

An Old Passion and a New Home 328

Epilogue. After Death 332

Funeral and Heritage 332

The Two Kolisch Memorials 332

Kolisch and Posterity 335

Solutions of Problems 336

Appendix A: Kolisch’s Ancestry 337

Appendix B: Relative Currencies in Kolisch’s Time 338

Bibliography 339

Index of Players 345

Index of Openings—Traditional Names 347

Index of Openings—ECO Codes 348

General Index 349

Book Reviews & Awards

Finalist, Book of the Year—English Chess Federation
“one of the most accurate chess books that McFarland & Company, Inc. has ever published”—Edward Winter, Chess Notes; “first-rate work…the tale of Kolisch’s rise to fame and fortune is dramatically told”—Chess Life; “first rate”—Chess Book Reviews; “creates vivid pictures of the chess scene in the second half of the 19th century…remarkable…amazing”—Huffington Post.